Sunday, 11 December 2011

Donkey and Lamb and Baby Jesus Christmas Card Lino Print

I made a Christmas card for my Mum again this year. Slightly different style to our own card. For one thing, it's roughly 100% more Christian, and it's also simpler and more graphic.

Last year's card for Mum was a stylised depiction of Mary and Joseph, inspired by the wooden figures in the old family crib. This year I started with a sketch of three of the actual figures. A handsome, if hungry-looking, donkey, an astonished lamb with a substantial underbite, and Baby Jesus himself, carved by my Dad, if I remember rightly.

I think it's turned out nice, but the project has had a traumatic epilogue: at some point during his stay in our house the donkey had his leg snapped off (and lost). I feel horribly guilty about this, and have embarked upon a complex prosthetic treatment which has so far involved some Copydex and a chop stick (whittled) and will probably involve staining with tea at some point. Pray for him. Or not, depending how Hitchens you're feeling right now.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Mistletoe Christmas Card Lino Print

My Christmas card usually refers to something we did as a family during the year. This one takes a bit of explaining.

At Easter we made a trip to S's mum's place in Dumfrieshire, and were joined by my old friend L and her family. One of the highlights of the trip was a visit to Cream o' Galloway. A dairy farm for generations, it has evolved into a very contemporary outfit with excellent environmental and animal welfare credentials. They draw masses of visitors for their two big attractions: an ice cream factory and a kids' adventure park. The latter is so good that B, after a blast round the pedal go-kart track, and in context of a conversation about his late grandfather, declared "I'd like my ashes scattered at Cream o'Galloway".

It was a big highlight of the holiday for both families, so I was delighted when L turned up to see us some months later, holding an earthenware cream pot from Cream o' Galloway, presumably pre-war, which she'd happened upon at a car boot sale in Colchester.

S suggested it would be a handsome subject for our Christmas card, perhaps with the addition of some mistletoe.

This would have been tricky in October, but for the kindness of a chap called Simon at the English Mistletoe Company. The stuff doesn't normally go on sale till much later, so when I called the EMC to buy some, they told me none of it was ready; it was berryless. Excellently, though, when I explained what I was doing, Simon found their first couple of sprigs of mistletoe with berries on and posted them to me for the card.

I'm really happy with the card. I knew that some of the fine lettering wouldn't be legible, but I was determined to try to render it all, somehow, and I think a decent proportion of it comes out. The leaves are nicely shaped, and overall it has a subtly Christmassy and very two thousand and eleveny feel for me.